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The 15 Best Mattresses in a Box of 2024, Vetted By Our Editors

From Casper to Puffy to Tuft and Needle

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

best mattress in a box universal
Dasha Burobina

Like TikTok and CBD, boxed mattresses have become pretty much unavoidable over the past few years. And honestly, it’s for good reason: The delivery and installation process is ultra-simple, they’re often more cost efficient than those sold in brick-and-mortar mattress stores and, most importantly, they’re damn comfortable. (Think: everything from ultra-soft, firm and cooling mattresses to versatile ones that work best for couples.) That said, as they’ve become more and more popular, the number of online mattress companies are making has skyrocketed. Which begs the question: Which should you buy? That’s why we polled our editors, friends and countless customer reviews to take a deep dive into the 15 best mattress-in-a-box. Read on for pricing info, return policies and real-life user reviews to see which is right for you.

The Best Mattresses in a Box of 2024

1

Best Overall Mattress in a Box

Casper Wave Snow Max Mattress

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2

Best Value Mattress in a Box

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

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3

Best Hybrid Mattress in a Box

Puffy Luxe Mattress

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4

Best Memory Foam Mattress in a Box

Layla Memory Foam Mattress

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5

Best Mattress in a Box for Back Pain

Tuft & Needle Mint Hybrid Mattress

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How We Chose The Best Mattresses in a Box

First, we polled our editors, friends and family for the best mattresses in a box they’ve tried. Then, we scoured through thousands of reviews for the best boxed mattresses on the market. After hours of research, we narrowed our selections down to make sure each met the following requirements: 

  • Sleep improvement: Whether there was there a noticeable difference in sleep quality (aka less tossing and turning) 
  • Materials: It includes memory foam, gel and/or innerspring coil technology (or a combination of both for hybrid mattresses)
  • Firmness: Firmness falls between 6-9 on the firmness scale (level one being the softest, and 10 being hard as a rock).
  • Thickness: It’s a minimum of 7-inches thick to offer enough loft for a comfortable night’s rest (excluding crib mattresses, which typically range from 4- to 6-inches thick.)
  • Trial Period and Returns: It has a minimum 30-day return policy that offers enough time to break it in. Plus, if anything happens to the mattress 

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Best Overall Mattress in a Box

1. Casper Wave Snow Max Mattress

What We Like

  • cooling technology
  • gel-filled pods
  • thick mattress

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Casper

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 19/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 93/100

With a little bit of everything—from spring coils and Casper’s signature foam to a new, proprietary cooling technology—this mattress has versatility built into its design. “I’m a die-hard side and back sleeper, constantly switching between the two positions, (depending on what’s most comfortable for my dog, of course), so I personally need a mattress that’s soft enough to not cause pressure on my hips and shoulders, but firm enough to offer support under my lower back,” explains our tester in a PureWow100 review. “With pocketed microcoils, layers of targeted foam and gel-filled pods, what makes Casper’s Wave Hybrid so great is that it pays particular focus to spine alignment and how it’s affected in every sleep position,” she continues. “Because I’m a semi-petite 5’4”, I had to scoot down a few inches toward the bottom of my mattress (nothing an extra pillow didn’t solve) to really feel the support of the gel pods beneath my lower back. [And] once I did, I knew I was going to have trouble getting out of bed in the morning—this time, from pure comfort. I noticed a difference from the very first night, when I didn’t wake up at 5 a.m. with the sudden urge to lay on my hardwood floor to get some pain relief.” 

Even better? PureWow Assistant Editor Sydney Meister says the cooling tech really makes a difference: “The HeatDelete™ Bands, and QuickCool™ Cover have made a noticeable difference; my bed is always chilled to perfection when I crawl in at night. What’s more, it has three layers of AirScape® Technology and an extra layer of cooling gel underneath, so it continuously draws heat away from the body as you sleep. (Aka I’m no longer waking up drenched in a pool of sweat.) It’s worth the investment if you’re a hot sleeper like me—especially when paired with a cooling comforter in the summer.”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: pocketed microcoils, foam layers and gel-filled pods
  • Firmness: level 6 
  • Thickness: 13 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Shipping and returns are free. Plus, you get a 100-night trial, and if you opt to send it back, many returned mattresses are donated to charity.

Best Value Mattress in a Box

2. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

What We Like

  • memory foam material
  • 365-day trial period
  • lumbar support

What We Don't Like

  • comes encased in too much plastic

Nectar

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 18/20
  • Materials: 17/20
  • Firmness: 17/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 91/100

Our tester was skeptical about sleeping on a mattress that arrived in a small-ish box, but after trying out Nectar’s memory foam in a PureWow100 review, she says: “I’m a total bed-in-a-box convert now.” This is because it features five supportive layers that are intended to relieve common pressure points while providing a soft, sink-in feel. The top layer of gel-infused memory foam also helps to regulate temperature, ensuring that body heat is distributed evenly throughout the night (game-changer for hot sleepers). “After a few nights of sleeping on the soft, yet supportive layers of memory foam, I was impressed. My middle back pain was gone, and I noticed that I fell asleep in a few minutes flat instead of tossing and turning. In other words, this side sleeper was content.” She also adds, “Nectar offers free shipping and returns, a 365-night home trial period and frequent flash sales—typically featuring a 40 percent markdown on your mattress, plus two free pillows.” Translation? You can usually score this one for just under $660 in the queen-size (which is hard to come by for a high-quality mattress). To that end, her only real complaint is about Nectar’s packaging. “It comes encased in a ton of plastic, which doesn’t exactly feel eco-friendly. But plastic is the reason the brand is able to package it so compactly, so it seems kind of unavoidable when it comes to the whole bed-in-a-box thing,” she reasons.

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Gel memory foam, polyfoam and polyethylene
  • Firmness: level 6
  • Thickness: 12 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: All of Nectar's mattresses come with a 365-day trial period and offer free in-home returns that are processed within 24 hours.

Best Hybrid Mattress in a Box

3. Puffy Luxe Mattress

What We Like

  • lifetime warranty
  • lumbar support
  • temperature-regulating cooling cover
  • good edge support

What We Don't Like

  • heavy

Puffy

  • Sleep Improvement: 20/20
  • Price: 19/20
  • Materials: 19/20
  • Firmness: 18/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 96/100

With more than 12,000 glowing reviews, this "lux" hybrid from Puffy is sure to live up to its name. It features eight luxurious layers of premium memory foam with a base of contouring coils that adapt to your posture. To that end, we're most impressed with the fact that the brand is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). This means it has been reviewed by a board of doctors to ensure it's up to the highest standards in terms of support for your spine and back. Bonus: it features a specialized top layer that’s infused with cooling gel to disperse heat away from the body. The quilted cover is also engineered with a cool-to-the-touch feel that’ll prevent you from sweating all night long. 

“This mattress offers great support. My sacral back issues have definitely improved—I suffer from carpal tunnel numbness and tingling at night and have tried three different mattresses with no relief… this one was the solution! My spouse is also a back- and side-sleeper who snores. He actually has snored less with the support of the puffy mattress. The biggest perk is the motion-cancelling properties of the mattress, however. I can finally sleep without sinking and rolling into my spouse who is 100 pounds heavier than myself. It’s a hybrid mattress with the dead movement of a memory foam mattress and bounce of a spring mattress. It favors more to the dead movement of a memory foam, which I prefer. It also has good edge support,” one reviewer writes. Not to mention that it offers relief for more than just the back: “I was suffering from leg and hip pain whenever I slept on my side, and I am happy to report that now my pain is virtually gone,” another person adds. 

Fast Facts

  • Materials: foam-encased pocketed coils, gel memory foam, quilted foam, climate fiber, cooling cover
  • Firmness: level 5.5
  • Thickness: 12 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Puffy offers a 101-night sleep trial, where you can return the mattress after testing (for at least two weeks). It also comes with a lifetime warranty on all mattresses, where the brand will repair defects or replace the mattress with a comparable model

Best Memory Foam Mattress in a Box

4. Layla Memory Foam Mattress

What We Like

  • doesn't run hot
  • versatile feel
  • copper-gel foam layers
  • very little sag

What We Don't Like

  • have to wait 14 days before returning

Layla Sleep

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 19/20
  • Firmness: 20/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 19/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Here, another all-foam option—but this one is one of a kind, thanks to its flippable design. It’s about as plush as you can get for memory foam, where on one side, you have a soft mattress that ranks as a four out of ten on the firmness scale and the other side ranks as a medium-firm seven out of ten. Aside from its versatile feel, however, what really makes this thing unique is its dense, copper-gel foam layers, which react to increased pressure with a firming response. Basically, it stays soft and huggy overall while providing ample support around deep compression areas to reduce sinking or sagging in other areas of the mattress.

“I’m currently using the plush side of this mattress. The wife, the dogs and I all love it. Extremely comfortable and does not sleep hot even with fitted and regular sheets on it. I don’t wake up sore like I did with my old mattress. Great to know that I have the option to simply flip it over if I need a firmer mattress,” one reviewer raves. Plus, another person adds, “I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and finding a bed that wouldn't increase my pain or cause pain in my hips or shoulders was very difficult. Most foam mattresses are very hard to someone as sensitive to pressure as I am. I was getting desperate until I tried the Layla, and have loved it from the first night!”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Copper memory foam, airflow foam, cooling polyester cover
  • Firmness: level 6 (soft side), level 8 (firm side)
  • Thickness: 10.5 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Layla offers a 120-night trial period, where you can return the mattress for a full refund with no return/shipping fees. The company requires that you also sleep on the mattress for at least 14 days before requesting a return.

Best Mattress in a Box for Back Pain

5. Tuft & Needle Mint Hybrid Mattress

What We Like

  • removable machine-washable covers
  • ships fast
  • 10-wear warranty
  • 100-night sleep trial

What We Don't Like

  • Can run too hot (as per reviewers)

Tuft and needle

  • Sleep Improvement: 18/20
  • Price: 18/20
  • Materials: 20/20
  • Firmness: 18/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Why this mattress converted one couple into bed-in-box believers? “It's really great for the price point [and I love how] it uses both foam and springs. It's made with a combination of T&N Adaptive® foam and high-quality pocketed springs—aka the best of both worlds,” our tester explains in a PureWow100 review. Not only that, but the mattress also features a 2-inch layer of Micro Diamond Memory Foam, which reduces motion transfer and draws heat away from the body, and it’s all wrapped up with a removable, machine-washable cover. “These factors make it the brand’s most supportive, breathable and best-for-co-sleeping mattress,” she adds. “The support and pressure is excellent. My husband still prefers a firmer mattress. But as a 35-year-old nurse who's lugging around a 40-lb. 2-year-old when I'm not at work, my back always hurts, and I feel very much at peace and not in pain while in the bed. I was previously sleeping on some pretty terrible mattresses, and you can definitely tell the difference in the support.” 

Our tester also mentioned: “Sharing the bed is great! I move around A LOT in my sleep. Like...a LOT. And my husband said he doesn't feel me moving around at night anymore, and I definitely don't feel him. This is a HUGE perk, and while I miss rolling into my husband all night long and what it did for our marriage, sometimes it's nice to be on opposite sides of the bed not touching and not even knowing the other person is there and maybe that's much better for our marriage?!”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: T&N Adaptive® foam, cooling gel and graphite, machine-washable knit cover
  • Firmness: level 6.5
  • Thickness: 12 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Ships free directly to your doorstep in 2 to 5 business days. The mattress also includes a 10-year limited warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.

Best Mattress in a Box Under $500

6. Sleep Inc. Medium Hybrid Mattress

What We Like

  • spinal and lumbar support
  • comes inflated
  • relieves pain
  • has cooling gel

What We Don't Like

  • Not firm enough (as per reviewers)

Wayfair

  • Sleep Improvement: 17/20
  • Price: 20/20
  • Materials: 17/20
  • Firmness: 16/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 19/20

TOTAL: 89/100

Why this mattress sells out during Way Day each year (aside from the fact that it’s just $450 for a queen)? It combines cradling cool gel memory foam with traditional innersprings to provide extra support and joint relief where you need it most. While the multi-layer design features dense layers of foam that adapt to your body shape, it also reduces motion-transfer (and is great for co-sleepers). The springs however, are individually wrapped with enhanced edge support to help target and support the lower back, ensuring proper spinal alignment and reducing pain points. And of course, it’s infused with cooling gel that pulls heat away from your body and promotes airflow continuously throughout the night. 

Take it from one (of more than 2,000) five-star reviews: “This is the best mattress purchase I've ever made! I'm a side sleeper with chronic joint pain as well as back/shoulder pain from injury. Falling asleep and staying asleep has been a battle for years. The first night, I was out like a light for 9 hours. (I typically average 4 hours on a good night.) Arrived on time and inflated fully in a few hours.” In fact, one reviewer loved it so much, she writes: “EXTREMELY Surprised and PLEASED with the mattress. The quality far exceeds my expectations for the price. The firmness is unexpectedly better than any of my previous mattresses. I will be ordering another one for my daughter as well.”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: gel-infused memory foam, individually wrapped coils, protective cover
  • Firmness: level 6.5
  • Thickness: 12 inches 
  • Trial Period and Returns: Mattresses sold and fulfilled by Wayfair include a 10-year limited warranty, depending on its condition. You can also return it any time during the 100-night trial for a full refund—or you can exchange it for a more expensive mattress (but you’ll need to pay the difference in price).

Best Mattress in a Box for Couples

7. Dreamcloud Hybrid Mattress

What We Like

  • contoured body support
  • spacious for couples
  • relieves pain
  • 365-day time period

What We Don't Like

  • heavy

Dreamcloud

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 17/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 91/100

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Dreamcloud is *the* go-to mattress for couples who need something plush yet firm. While the base is constructed with individually encased coils and a foam foundation—giving it a firm-solid feel—it’s balanced with five layers of cushy memory foam for soft, contoured body support. “It also has a super plush topper that makes the fairly springy mattress below extra cushy, for back, stomach and side-sleepers alike,” Editor-in-Chief Jillian Quint notes. Indeed, it’s available in three models—including the hybrid, the premier hybrid and the premier rest hybrid—so you can upgrade the hybrid with a plush pillowtop and extra layers of pressure-relieving technology.

“The best thing is probably how little motion transfer other sleepers experience in the bed. I'm a noted tosser-and-turner, and my husband noticed absolutely no movement, even with me right beside him in bed. Highly recommended for couples with different bedtimes and sleep needs...you really don't annoy each other," Quint says. Plus, another reviewer adds: “I have lower back issues and when I’m laying down, it’s really supportive without feeling like I’m sleeping on a wood table. There is definitely some of that ‘sinking in’ that you’d get with an all-foam mattress, but the innersprings catch you so you’re not in too deep.” 

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Gel memory foam, individually encased coils and cashmere
  • Firmness: level 6.5
  • Thickness: 14 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: DreamCloud offers a generous 365-night trial period and your purchase is eligible for a free return within 365 days of purchase. Plus, returned mattresses are donated and repurposed through local organizations within your community.

Best Cooling Mattress in a Box

8. Sealy Cocoon Chill Mattress

What We Like

  • firm feel
  • spacious
  • doesn't run hot

What We Don't Like

  • isn't firm enough (as per reviewers)

Sealy

  • Sleep Improvement: 17/20
  • Price: 19/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 17/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 18/20

TOTAL: 89/100

New to Cocoon by Sealy’s collection, this hybrid features a premium stretch-knit cover infused with Phase Change Material that helps you fall asleep faster at a cooler temperature. Under the cooling cover, there are three other layers of memory foam, coiling and support, all making for a bed that’s neither too soft, nor too firm (according to most reviewers). Plus, while its pressure-relieving memory foam and premium coils work together to offer improved airflow, the premium knit cover offers a cool-to-touch surface that can regulate your temperature as you sleep (aka the best of both worlds).

One reviewer says, “I’m a hot sleeper—as in, my sheets turn yellowish because I sweat—and I was frustrated because I couldn't use white sheets…I've slept on this mattress for over a month now and I can honestly say, I don't think I've sweat even once. Thank the mattress Gods!” Another person also adds: “My fiancé and I have two different tastes when it comes to mattress. I want to sink in and never come out and he prefers a much firmer feel. We've been sleeping on our cocoon mattress for a little over a month now and we both love it! It has PLENTY of space for both of us and is a perfect mixture between soft and firm.”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: phase change cover, 900+ fabric-encased coils, memory foam
  • Firmness: level 6
  • Thickness: 12 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Sealy offers a 100-night trial, where they’ll refund your money, pick it up for free, and donate the mattress to a local charity. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.

Best Plush Mattress in a Box

9. Nolah Evolution Plush Mattress

What We Like

  • heavily layered
  • limited lifetime warranty
  • moisture-wicking properties
  • good ventilation

What We Don't Like

  • Not thick enough (as per reviewers)

Nolah

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 20/20
  • Firmness: 19/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 95/100

The one mattress Assistant Editor Sydney Meister can’t get enough of? Nolah’s dreamy pillowtop hybrid. “First and foremost, it’s a whopping 15-inches of layered comfort where the mattress is engineered to be ultra-soft. Meaning, if you’re someone who prefers a marshmallowy feel—and can’t stand to sleep on anything that’s firm as a plank—you’ll appreciate its ‘plush’ option, which ranks as a 4.5 on the firmness scale (it also comes in ‘luxury firm’ and ‘firm’ that fall between levels 6-7 and 7-8). While the eight inches of Tri-Zone™ coils offer responsive pressure relief and targeted support—great for side sleepers like me, the seven inches of graphite-infused foam offer a sturdy foundation that keep my hips aligned. I also appreciate how this hybrid has a bouncier, more innerspring-like feel (since I often find memory foam to be too dense),” she explains.

The real selling point, however, is the two-inch, cooling quilted Euro topper. “This is what gives the mattress its signature cushiony feel,” Meister says. “Not only does it genuinely live up to its cloud-like promise but it's also infused with breathable, thermal-regulating heat conductivity (thanks to the graphite) which draws excess heat away from the body. What’s more, it has a four-inch AirBeath™ border gusset that provides ample ventilation—and made a noticeable difference in the cooling department. Everything is then tied with a bow in its AtricTex™ fiber cover, which helps wick away moisture and keep the surface feeling cool-to-the touch. Between the squishy yet supportive feel and layers of cooling tech, it’s the ultimate go-to for side-sleepers who run hot at night.” 

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Tri-Zone™ coils, graphite-infused foam, cooling quilted Euro topper
  • Firmness: level 4.5
  • Thickness: 15 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: You can try the Nolah Evolution risk-free for 120 nights. If you want to exchange it or send it back outright, you can do so after the first 30 days. You'll receive a refund, minus a $99 gas and labor fee. All mattresses are also covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

Best Firm Mattress in a Box

10. Plank Firm Luxe Mattress

What We Like

  • temperature-regulating
  • isn't noisy
  • has a cooling cover
  • responsive

What We Don't Like

  • takes a while to break in

Plank

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 20/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 18/20

TOTAL: 92/100

On the other side of the spectrum you have the firm feel of Plank’s mattress, which is all in the name. This one is about as firm as they come, since it’s crafted with layers of supreme response comfort foam—a core of 6-inch individually encased ascension firm coils—and a quilted top weave with high-density support foam (so it doesn’t feel like a cinderblock). What’s more, The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) concluded that the mattress’s firm support reduces spinal stress, improves lumbar support, and alleviates back pain (per the manufacturer). It creates a neutral spine position that’s better for your back and posture, helping to reduce pressure on your circulatory system and increase your oxygen flow. Even more impressive; it features a flippable design where the top side of the mattress offers a level 9 (AKA ultra-firm) feel and the bottom side is measured at a medium-firm level 7.

Hot sleepers also have the option to add a GlacioTex™ cooling cover, which is promised to instantly banish heat and restore long-lasting temp regulation. Take it from one reviewer, who raves: “If you're serious about sleeping on a firm mattress, this is your bed. Haven't had a bad night of sleep since a got it. I used the firmest side right out of the box, and you definitely stay on top of the mattress instead of sinking down (so you don't ever feel trapped in your mattress or too hot)... It’s easy to flip when I'm ready to rotate (or for a change to the softer side). [My] dog also likes the lower profile—easier to jump on/off bed. And speaking of dogs jumping on the bed; I noticed this mattress absorbs most of the noise/vibration/shock of her jumping on/off and moving around on the bed. This could be part of the reason why I'm sleeping so well—I'm not longer awakened by my dog coming/going and situating herself on bed in the middle of the night. This mattress certainly isn't for everyone, but if you're a back sleeper, give it a try. I think you'll love it.” 

Fast Facts

  • Materials: supreme response comfort foam, individually encased ascension firm coils, quilted top weave with high-density support foam
  • Firmness: level 7 (top side), level 9 (bottom side)
  • Thickness: 13.5 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Brooklyn Bedding offers a 120-night trial on all mattresses, where they’ll include free shipping on delivery, exchanges and returns. It also comes with a 10-year warranty that protects your mattress from damages or dents in the future.

Best Mattress in a Box for Combination Sleepers

11. Serta Perfect Sleeper Mattress-in-a-Box Hybrid

What We Like

  • pressure-reliving
  • has cooling gel
  • 10-year warranty
  • two different firmness levels

What We Don't Like

  • isn't cool enough (as per reviewers)

Serta

  • Sleep Improvement: 17/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 18/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 19/20

TOTAL: 89/100

“Serta has been in the mattress game for nearly 100 years, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about comfort and support. The tried-and-true Perfect Sleeper is just that: a simple solution for a perfect night’s sleep for every kind of sleeper,” says Rachel Gulmi, Operations Director Of Branded Content in a PureWow100 review. That said, since people loved the Perfect Sleeper Collection so much, the brand released a bed-in-a-box version of its most popular Hybrid mattress (and it’s about half the price of the OG version). Not only does this feature all of the same technology—including 825 individually wrapped coils and a unique geometric-cut memory foam for pressure-relieving comfort—but you can customize it with two firmness levels: medium and plush. “The individually wrapped coils and contouring memory foam are designed with zoned comfort that offers pressure relief and support where you need it…I’m what’s classified as a combination sleeper, meaning I shift positions throughout the night from side to back. This mattress actually responds to my body as I move around,” Gulmi says. 

To top it all off, it also includes cooling gel that’s swirled directly into breathable foam pockets to promote airflow and heat dissipation.  “I run extremely hot at night, and I may or may not have on more than one occasion changed my pajamas in the middle of the night (ahem, I have). Anyone else who has experienced night sweats knows how dreadfully uncomfortable it can be and while my body is simply programmed that way, I always opt for products that have cooling properties. The Perfect Sleeper has a cool-to-the-touch cover that really helps take the edge off. Do I still get hot? Of course, but now I don’t wake up because of it,” she adds.

Fast Facts

  • Materials: individually wrapped coils, geometric-cut memory foam, cooling gel 
  • Firmness: level 5-7
  • Thickness: 11 inches 
  • Trial Period and Returns: Serta offers a 120-night trial, where they’ll refund your money and allow you to return the mattress at no extra charge. It also comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Best Mattress in a Box for Side Sleepers

12. Nest Bedding Sparrow Signature Hybrid

What We Like

  • thermic phase-change cooling cover
  • suitable for couples
  • 365-day return
  • firm with lumbar support

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Nest Bedding

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 18/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 92/100

If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want to look for a mattress that conforms to your body with an adaptive feel—and that’s exactly what the Nest Sparrow delivers. It’s a pillow-top hybrid, so it combines individually wrapped coils to isolate motion and responsive Energex foam that feels like memory foam (without leaving a lasting imprint on the mattress). You can choose between three firmness levels, including firm, medium and plush—and the brand recommends the latter for side sleepers who are looking for pressure point relief and gentle support. Plus, while it also has a dual-split option that allows you to customize a different firmness level for each side of the mattress, that’s not even the most impressive feature: It’s the zipper, which allows you to add/remove the foam layers at any time.

“We love the ease of having a mattress delivered to our door, but we’ve been burned by too-stiff—or worse, pancake-y—ones in the past,” says VP of Editorial, Candace Davison. “That’s why we were pleasantly surprised by Nest’s pillow-top Sparrow mattress. (And, nearly a year later, continue to be impressed.) It’s designed for couples, featuring individual coils that isolate movement, so when your partner tosses, you feel nothing—truly. What’s more, you can swap out the inner layer of foam to adjust its firmness. And you can replace that layer over time, extending the mattress’s overall lifespan, and making it an eco-friendlier option too. It’s pricey, but so far, it’s proven to be worth every penny.”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Gel memory foam, pocketed coils and thermic phase-change cooling cover
  • Firmness: level 4.5
  • Thickness: 12 inches (adjustable)
  • Trial Period and Returns: Nest offers a 365-night trial, where you can return or exchange the mattress if you don't like it. However, the brand recommends using it for a full 30 days before returning it to give your body a full chance to adjust to it.

Best Mattress in a Box for Back Sleepers

13. Emma Hybrid Comfort Mattress

What We Like

  • firmness that offers lumbar support
  • hybrid mattress
  • relieves pain
  • affordable

What We Don't Like

  • can take a while to break in

Emma

  • Sleep Improvement: 18/20
  • Price: 18/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 18/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 19/20

TOTAL: 91/100

For back sleepers, the main priority is finding a medium-firm to firm mattress, so you keep your neck supported without sinking too deeply. Hence, why our tester (a back sleeper) loves this hybrid: “It has a medium-feel that feels cushiony and comfortable, but it’s firm enough where I don’t feel like I’m sinking in.” This is thanks to the seven-zoned support, which is ergonomically designed to align your head, shoulders, back, hips and legs. While the bottom layer includes individually wrapped coils that provide an optimum level of tension and bounce, it’s enhanced by springs that adapt to your spine for more restorative sleep. The three layers of foam are also thoughtfully stacked to hug the curves of your backside without hollows or bumps—and keep your head in an optimal sleeping position. So much so that our tester also says, “I was on a really horrible mattress before this that caused a pinched nerve in my neck. Since switching to this mattress I’ve woken up with zero neck pain. My back doesn't hurt, my shoulders don’t hurt—nothing hurts in my body anymore.” 

On top of that, the mattress is covered with light, soft-to-touch fibers that wick away moisture and prevent heat from getting trapped on the surface: “Our old memory foam mattress was comfortable, but I would wake up soaked in sweat a few times a night (the mattress got so hot!). I have slept under a thin blanket for the last four years and still wake up sweating,” one reviewer adds. 

Fast Facts

  • Materials: individually wrapped spring coils, memory foam, moisture-wicking cover
  • Firmness: level 5
  • Thickness: 13 inches 
  • Trial Period and Returns: Emma Mattresses offers a 365-night trial, where you can return or exchange the mattress free of charge after 21 nights. It also comes with a 10-year warranty that covers damages caused by factory defects and/or faulty materials.

Best Mattress in a Box for Stomach Sleepers

14. Helix Dawn

Helix

  • Sleep Improvement: 19/20
  • Price: 17/20
  • Materials: 18/20
  • Firmness: 17/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 19/20

TOTAL: 90/100

This mattress was designed specifically for stomach sleepers, and features highly resilient responsive foam layers that cradle your body and provide spinal alignment support. The top layers offer a firmer feel with dynamic latex foam, and the responsive foam at the bottom provides ergonomic support and cushioning. Plus, thanks to the 1,000+ individually wrapped coils at the bottom, there’s limited motion transfer as well as reinforced sides that provide ample edge support. Basically, the mattress is designed to aid recovery and to contour to your stomach—all while providing spinal alignment. You can also add a GlacioTex™ cooling pillow top, which adds an extra layer of cushion with cutting-edge cooling tech at the surface. 

Take it from one stomach-sleeper who’s never felt so rested: “I had lower back pain every day when I woke up. After doing research to look for the perfect mattress for stomach sleepers—that could also accommodate a partner who sleeps on their back/side—this seemed to be the best match. After two nights of sleep, my back pain was gone and continued to stay away. Great quality and I love that it's non-toxic; arrived and unpacked without any off-gassing smells and inflated almost immediately.”

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Memory foam, individually wrapped coils and a quilted pillow top
  • Firmness: level 7.5
  • Thickness: 11.5 inches
  • Trial Period and Returns: Helix offers a 100-night trial period; if, after the first 30 days you are unhappy with your mattress, you can return it for a full refund (and the brand will cover shipping and pick-up costs if you decide to return the mattress within the trial period).

Best Crib Mattress in a Box

15. Newton Baby Crib Mattress

What We Like

  • high airflow level
  • can get a full refund
  • plushy mattress

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Newton Baby

  • Sleep Improvement: 20/20
  • Price: 15/20
  • Materials: 20/20
  • Safety: 20/20
  • Shipping and Returns: 20/20

TOTAL: 95/100

Finally, a crib mattress that had every safety feature Cristina Gutierrez, Director of Branded Content, was looking for: “For starters, it’s breathable, made from the brand’s patented Wovenaire material, which is this 90 percent air, ten percent food-grade polymer filling that looks like a tangle of noodles," she wrote in her review.

The "breathe-thru" technology allows for the highest level of airflow so babies can breathe and sleep safely. And, in a study done by an independent third-party lab, Newton was found to be 17 times more breathable than its competitors with a 97 percent lower suffocation risk (according to the manufacturer). Yet, aside from all of its (much appreciated) safety features, Gutierrez was most impressed by how this mattress got her baby to, well, sleep. "I just knew she was comfortable from the very first night she slept on it...I watched her like a hawk through the baby monitor and she hardly moved a muscle."

Fast Facts

  • Materials: Wovenaire core is made with food-grade polymer, polyester
  • Firmness: N/A
  • Thickness: 5.5 inches 
  • Trial Period and Returns: Newton allows you to try the mattress for 100 nights risk-free. If you (or baby) aren't happy, simply return it at the brand's expense for a full refund.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Mattress in a Box

Step 1: Choose Your Ideal Type of Mattress

There are lots of different kinds of mattresses-in-a-box out there, many of which are described with super-confusing terminology (what the heck is polyurethane foam, anyway?). But when it comes to boxed mattresses, specifically, they usually include three types: hybrid, memory foam and pillow-top. 

  • Hybrid Mattresses: These mattresses often feature a combo of memory foam, gel and innerspring coil technology—as in, coils that are individually wrapped to retain their tension. Hybrids are the best options for couples, as they’re soft and supportive—without falling too extreme on either side of the spectrum.
  • Memory Foam Mattresses: These mattresses are made from moldable material that will contour to your shape—and are perfect for relieving aches. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the material can get pretty warm at night (and you want to look for a cooling option if you’re a hot sleeper).
  • Pillow-Top Mattresses: This is the ultimate mattress for a bouncy feel. Since innerspring mattresses are hard to condense into a box, this is the closest thing you’ll get in terms of loft. While they’re not great for pressure relief, pillow tops often rest upon a hybrid blend—and many feature memory foam, latex or fiberfill (instead of traditional coils), which tend to make them more affordable.

Step 2: Consider Firmness

The key thing to remember is that firmness is highly subjective (what feels rock solid to you might feel like a fluffy cloud to someone else). Plus, a person’s body type, weight and other factors will also play a role in their preferences. What you want is a mattress that is soft enough to let you sink into it, yet firm enough to support you. How do you find that? Some brands offer a one-size-fits-all firmness level, but most feature a numbered scale from one to ten (level one is the softest, and 10 tends to be hard as a rock). Here’s how to choose the right number for your sleep style:

  • Plush (levels 3-4): Plush mattresses offer minimal support with plenty of sinkage and contour. It’s the softest feel available; not ideal for anyone who suffers from neck, back or hip pain. 
  • Medium (levels 5-6): Of all the firmness levels, medium mattresses are preferred by most sleepers. They are in the middle of the pack when it comes to hug and sinkage and meet the needs of combination sleepers when it comes to conformt and support.
  • Medium-firm (levels 6-7): Medium-firm mattresses feature adequate softness at the top to relieve pressure on your body. These are the best option for side sleepers, where they offer ample support for your feet, spine and head.
  • Firm (levels 7-8): Firm mattresses often feature a sturdy coil system coupled with several layers of compressed upholstery. Such mattresses deliver minimal sinkage, making them the best choice for back- and stomach-sleepers.
  • Extra-firm (levels 9-10): Extra-firm mattresses have a strong foundation that is tailored to absorb weight and motion. They also have remarkable edge support, which means you won’t have to worry about it sagging.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Mattress in a Box Without a Box Spring?

The short answer? Yes (in most cases). Nowadays, it’s less common that you’d need a box spring for your mattress; they’re mainly used with traditional innerspring mattresses to provide proper support. With the emergence of hybrid mattresses, however, the combination of memory foam and innerspring coils are less likely to require a box spring. Most bed-in-box mattresses are designed to work well with various support options, including platform beds, adjustable bed bases, slatted bed frames or a solid foundation. 

Still, if you prefer your bed to be higher off the ground, a box spring can add height to your mattress, making it easier to get in and out of bed (though there are also a slew of bed risers on the market these days). It’s also worth mentioning that a box spring can absorb some of the movements and noise, which can be beneficial for couples who share a bed and want to minimize motion-transfer.

How Long Do Mattresses in a Box Last?

The lifespan of a mattress in a box typically ranges from 6 to 10 years, but it’s a general rule of thumb that you should replace your mattress every 7 years. How frequently the mattress is used, the weight distribution on it, and proper maintenance will all come into play when determining longevity. Typically, big and tall sleepers will experience a shorter mattress lifespan, due to increased stress on the mattress. Regular maintenance, like rotating or flipping the mattress, using a mattress protector, and deep-cleaning it can help extend its life. The type of mattress also matters, as memory foam and latex mattresses often have longer lifespans compared to traditional innerspring mattresses. (Read more about that here.)

Can I Immediately Sleep on a Mattress in a Box?

Naturally, you’ll want to check specific instructions from the manufacturer on how long the mattress needs to fully expand. Typically, however, you can enjoy your new mattress after a day or two of unboxing: 
Unbox: Take the mattress out of its packaging and place it on your bed frame or foundation.
Expand: The mattress will start to expand and take its full shape within a few minutes. While it might take up to 24-48 hours to reach its complete size, you can sleep on it during this time. (Though, this might increase the risk of dents or dips in the long-run.)
Allow for off-gassing: Some mattresses, especially those made of foam, may have a slight odor when first unpacked. This is called off-gassing and is usually not a big deal. Just let the mattress air out in a well-ventilated room, and the smell should go away in 48 hours.
Break it in: You can use the mattress right away, sure, but it may take a few nights for it to fully conform to your body. Don’t freak out if it feels hard as a rock on the first night—many manufacturers require that you test it for at least 20 days (before returning) for this exact reason.


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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...

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